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26 May 2022

Book Review: The Dark by Sharon Bolton *AD Gifted

Orion sent me a free review copy of The Dark by Sharon Bolton.

When I heard that there was going to be a new Lacey Flint, I placed my pre-order then immediately re-read the four previous books. Sharon Bolton's Lacy Flint creation is the messiest and most unreliable narrator I have ever come across and I am here for it. I can't get enough.

When I was offered a review copy I jumped at the chance and jumped right in.

The Dark by Sharon Bolton book cover


THE UNMISSABLE BRAND NEW THRILLER FROM RICHARD & JUDY BESTSELLER SHARON BOLTON - POLICE OFFICER LACEY FLINT FACES HER MOST DANGEROUS CASE YET

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as 'incels' or 'involuntary celibates.' Joesbury's team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger...

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Source: Review Copy | Pre-Order

Content Warnings: Misogyny, suicide, drug abuse, death, stalking, violence

5 Word Review: Misogyny, hate, power, survival, family.


Lacey Flint takes on incels? Sign me right up.

Having read all of the previous Lacey Flint books, and the author's non-Lacey stories, I though I knew what I was getting in to. But holy hell, The Dark was darker than I could have imagined. Gritty crime thriller meets hellish dystopia. It's like just before The Handmaid's Tale but British and with the most unreliable woman in teh world narrating.

All of Lacey's cases are personal, but this one cut much closer to home than even the first one. Her lies are catching up with her and her whole world is balancing on a knife edge.

I liked how we got to see more perspectives to the story - it's not just Lacey, but we also have Mark and Emma and Dana pitching on, and the extremely disturbing AryanBoy.

This book is so fast paced, the story flies by at an incredible pace. This book is both difficult to put down and difficult to keep reading due to the subject. It's terrifying how this could so easily happen tomorrow. Sharon Bolton writes incels so accurately that I felt sick at times. It's scary.

I'm excited to see Lisa Coleman back for the audiobook, and the sample I listened to was excellent. She's a marvellous Lacey Flint and really brings the character and story to life.

I think you could technically read this book as a standalone as a lot of Lacey's past is gone back over, but I feel the story wouldn't be as layered. And if you've read the precious books then you are in for A RIDE with some new revelations about Lacey.



20 May 2022

Book Beginnings: The Dark by Sharon Bolton

 For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.


For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading The Dark by Sharon Bolton (free review copy).

The Dark by Sharon Bolton

A few hours after midnight, two young women sat in a car close to the edge of a cliff; one of them was dead, the other merely felt that way.

I was sent a free review copy of The Dark by Sharon Bolton.

Gotta be honest - this wasn't the first line I was expecting. But I am intrigued by the prologue, and I can't wait to see how this all came about.

I love the final cover, I think it sits well with the rest of the series and I like the way the details of the background overlap with the text. It pretty and dark, and the bright pink is a striking shock of colour.

I am excited to read on.

Silence in the room for several seconds, then Lacey said, 'Publicity.'

This is from page 56 in my review copy.

It was so difficult to pick out a line on this page without giving too much away about the story itself and spoiling parts of the series if you've never read the book before. Tricky!

In context, this line is striking. It's Lacey all over, thinking outside of the box and seeing the wider picture.

I can't wait to see Lacey Flint take on incels - her rage will be burning so much and I am here for it. I love love love Lacey Flint as a character, she's so messy and unreliable, so I am super excited to be reading more of her story.

About the Book

ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE...
NOW, HE'LL TAKE HERS.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as 'incels' or 'involuntary celibates.' Joesbury's team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger...


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What are you reading this week?


19 May 2022

Audiobook Review: Do No Harm by Jack Jordan *AD Gifted

Simon & Schuster Audio UK sent me a free audio-copy of Do No Harm by Jack Jordan via NetGalley.

I was in the mood for a thriller on my commute when I picked up Do No Harm, and I got more than I was expecting. I even ended up so engrossed that I missed my stop on the Metro.

Do No Harm by Jack Jordan audiobook cover


My child has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice…
Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see my son again.

The man lies on the table in front of me.
As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
As a mother, I know I must kill him.
You might think that I’m a monster.
But there really is only one choice.
I must get away with murder.
Or I will never see my son again.

I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES.
WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?

DON'T MISS THE HEART-STOPPING THRILLER OF 2022
#DONOHARM

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

5 Word Review: Family, trust, power, love, secrets.


Not going to lie, when I first saw the cover I thought I'd read this book before. It's a very same-y cover, exceedingly similar to other books in the genre, it doesn't stand out. It was only when I read the blurb I realised that no, I hadn't read this book. And it's such a shame that I could have missed it because of the cover, because Do No Harm was a great read.

Anna is the first character we meet, and oh my goodness. My perception of her between the first page and the last page couldn't have been more different. I loved her assurance and the sense of power she exuded. She's whip smart, so clever it's scary.

Margo was messy, so messy. I'm still not sure how her life ended up as it did, how she ended up so desperate, but she tugged at my heart strings.

Rachel has the instinct for her job, I loved how she kept pushing and she knew that something wasn't right. Someone was dancing rings around her and she knew it but couldn't quite figure out how to stop it.

This story starts tense, and stays tense. It is incredibly fast paced and difficult to put down. If I had been reading this instead of listening I'm sure it would have been done in a single sitting. At ten hours I had to split it across my commutes, and I hated having to stop.

This is a thriller, of course there's a twist. But this one? I really didn't see it coming, and it changes completely how I perceived one of the characters.

In terms of performance, I thought the cast did an excellent job. There are three performers for this story,  Lucy Paterson, Sarah Feathers, Jane Collingwood. They all brought a little something different to the story, and brought their characters to life in unique ways - it was always easy to tell the difference between which character was telling the story.

I will absolutely read more by this author. I loved the surprising complexity of the story, and how it dug deeper into the emotions and motivations of the characters. I particularly liked the twist.

17 May 2022

Audiobook Review: Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter *AD Gifted

Harper Collins Audio UK sent me a free audio-copy of Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter via NetGalley.

It's been a while since I picked up an audiobok, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts on my commute instead. But then I saw that Bethany Rutter's adult debut was on Net Galley and I couldn't resist.

No, I really couldn't resist. I was supposed to save this for Monday morning, but when it landed on my phone on Friday afternoon I ended up listening to it all in a single sitting. It's amazing.

Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter audiobook cover


This is a love story…

Serena Mills should be at her wedding. But she’s not.

Instead, she’s eating an ice cream sundae and drinking an obscenely large glass of wine in a Harvester off the M25.

Everyone thinks she’s gone mad.

She’s left the man everyone told her she was ‘so lucky’ to find – because Serena wants to find love. Real love. A love she deserves – not one she should just feel grateful for.

So, she escapes to the big city and sets herself a challenge: 52 weeks. 52 dates. 52 chances to find love. It should be easy, right?

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

5 Word Review: Love, friendship, acceptance, belonging, growth.


This book. It's a balm. It's amazing.

From the very first words, I was hooked. I had a massive smile on my face because this book? It's exactly what I needed and the writing style is just so gorgeous and accessible and the narrative voice feels so familiar. It was easy to read because it felt comfortable, even as the story itself was challenging. Especially in how it had me confronting myself and my own self-belief (or lack thereof).

I loved Serena's journey, how she found herself and started to truly love herself. I loved seeing her grow through her insecurities and see past what she thought people thought of her. I loved her genuine care for other people, she's such a good person. Serena's generosity shone out. Sarah is my kind of person. I loved her creativity too, how she made her own clothes - I could never.

This book had me cackling. Right from the start when it all kicks off, I was there with Serena, part of me like "oh no!" and the other part like "yes girl!". I was so glad when Serena started to look at her relationship in those first pages, and the realisation she came too.

The disastrous dates had me cringing at times because of how real they felt. Anyone who has dated will recognise the situations.

The friendships were amazing, I loved Nicole and her influence on Serena. I loved how it rubbed off on me a little too, I feel better for having read Welcome to Your Life.

The audiobook is narrated by Ell Potter and they did the most amazing job bringing Serena to life. I loved their performance and thought it fitted Serena's character and the tone of the book perfectly.

This book begs to be read with a cold glass of wine on a warm evening. It is uplifting and soul restoring, and the perfect balm to a bad week. I loved the themes of hope and acceptance and personal growth, and how the characters tackled the bad things.

12 May 2022

Book Review: Temptation in Istanbul by Hana Sheik *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Temptation in Istanbul by Hana Sheik ahead of the blog tour.

Escape to Istanbul, where a nanny may just tempt a bruised billionaire to give love a second chance in this heartwarming romance by Hana Sheik.

Temptation in Istanbul by Hana Sheik Mills & Boon romance book cover

A single dad’s greatest temptation?

The nanny on his doorstep! 

Billionaire Faisal is anxiously awaiting custody of his little girl, who’s been living miles away with her mother.

First he must win the approval of her nanny, Maryan, who has travelled with her to Istanbul. While he shows Maryan the delights of his city, the instant attraction between them is hard to ignore.

But Maryan leaves in two weeks, so Faisal must decide how much of his bruised heart he is prepared to risk…

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, belonging, respect, care, love.


From the very first page, I knew I would love this book. And I was not disappointed.

Temptation in Istanbul is probably the most heart warming book I've read this year - and given that I've read a fair few Mills & Boon True Love that is saying something.

Maryan is so full of love for her little charge. She's been a parent figure in Zara's life where her own were absent, and I loved her fierce protection. Maryan is a little like a lioness when it comes to those she cares about and I loved it.

Faisal is trying his best to be the best dad for Zara, and I loved all of those small moments of patience and care. He really took his time with her and showed her that he loved her. I also loved his generosity, how even in business he was thinking of others and sharing what he could. He really is the kind of business man you want in the world, trying to do their best for everyone.

Zara is just the sweetest child, and my heart broke for her - she's losing everything she knows and yet she's still this lovely little girl full of sparkle. I loved the found family themes, and how much her father really did care for her.

Faisal and Maryan together? Right from the start I was here for it! This is a slow burn romance that will fill your heart to bursting with the warm fuzzies.

This was an absolutely delightful read, sure to warm the heart. Now I even more desperately want to go to Istanbul and drink all the tea I can.

Temptation in Istanbul by Hana Sheik blog tour banner

Hana Sheik falls in love every day reading her favourite romances and writing her own happy-ever-afters. She's worked as a data entry operator, customer service rep, telemarketer, and ghostwriter—but being a romance author is without a doubt the best job ever! Born in Somalia, she moved to the beautiful capital of Canada as a toddler, and still lives there happily with her family. She loves to hear from readers. Reach out to her on the contact page at hanasheik.com


Giveaway to Win 3 x paperback copies of Temptation in Istanbul
(Open to UK / Ireland / US & Canada)

Terms and Conditions – UK / Ireland / US and Canada entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.